I just discovered the counter intuitive construction that trying to flag a question for "doesn't belong here" when you have close vote privileges is just a "long-cut" the close dialogue.

I specifically choose to click flag rather than close because I don't think the question should be closed, but in the specific case rather moved to another site. Effectively this interface just tricked me into casting a close vote.

Why is this "long-cut" in place? Surely anyone who desire to close a question would click the close link in the first place.

Edit: I don't think that I will forget that I should use the "it needs ♦ moderator attention" option for moving. This is not about helping me personally, it is about designing the system so that others may intuitively find the correct flagging option.

  • 6
    That is by design. If you have close voting privileges, the flag will always be cast as a close vote instead. Otherwise if you don't have the privileges, then it will be a flag. If you really feel it needs to be moved elsewhere, use the "other" option and make your case. See also Apr 9, 2012 at 13:31
  • I realize that this is by design, but the design is pretty bad, and very misleading for this situation. Apr 9, 2012 at 13:33
  • A goal of flagging is to help mods clean up the site. There's no reason at all to get a mod involved when it's something regular users with sufficient privileges can handle themselves. Apr 9, 2012 at 15:27
  • While I can agree, that the dialog might not be great, can you propose something that would be better?
    – Zoredache
    Apr 9, 2012 at 16:52
  • @JeffMercado I certainly haven't got privileges to cast a "move to X site" vote, so if I deem that to be the necessary action what should I do but bother the mods? Apr 9, 2012 at 18:27
  • @Zoredache Making the obvious dialogue choice in the flag menu of something like: "Move to site:" With either a text field or a drop down menu with all sites of the network available would certainly be a step in the right direction. With that done "Doesn't belong here" could simply be renamed "Close" or something thereabout. Apr 9, 2012 at 18:32
  • 1
    @eBusiness: What? If you have the ability to close vote questions, you certainly have the ability to cast a "move to X site" vote... You can't suggest just any site to migrate to, just the ones provided. For that you have to use the "other" option. Apr 9, 2012 at 20:10
  • @JeffMercado I guess the most terrible thing about this design is that the menu is there, but not listing the required site, it doesn't even have an "Other" option. How do you make people get lost in a maze? Convince them that a wrong way is the correct way. How do you make people get lost a menu system? Exactly the same way. SO flagging menu is a prime example. Apr 9, 2012 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


The canned flag reasons under the "doesn't belong here" heading don't give you the opportunity to explain where the question should be moved and why it should be migrated instead of closed as off-topic.

You'll need to use the "Needs moderator attention" -> other flag option and explain where the question should be migrated to and preferably also a short explanation why it should be moved there if it's not completely obvious.

And the reason for this behaviour is that some users continued to flag posts instead of closing them when they gained the privilege, creating more work for the moderators.


My guess is that it's for convenience when transitioning between the two routes. I know that when I first hit 3k, I still went with the flag → doesn't belong here route for a while until I got used to it.

The screen also changes: The button says "Vote To Close" rather than "Flag Question", which serves as a reminder that you're a big boy now and don't have to flag such questions anymore.

[...] I don't think the question should be closed, but in the specific case rather moved to another site.

Voting to migrate is just a subset of closing a question as off topic. Voting to close as "off topic, belongs on X" is the correct thing to do here.

If however the site is not a user-selectable migration target, then you shouldn't be using the close interface anyway. Flag it with a custom message indicating where you want it moved, and why.

  • "Voting to migrate is just a subset of closing a question as off topic." That is not good design, since if a moderator decide that the question need not be migrated it must be because the moderator think the question is on topic, and thus need neither to be closed. Apr 9, 2012 at 13:52
  • 2
    @eBusiness Not really. A question can be off-topic and not worth migrating. Maybe it's just bad, maybe it's off topic everywhere. Maybe it's a bad fit for the target site. (For example, if you ask for a list of action RPG video games on Stack Overflow, it won't get migrated to Arqade because it would just get rejected within an hour at most).
    – a cat
    Apr 9, 2012 at 13:59
  • In that case it must be up to the mod who decline the migration to do the closing. Apr 9, 2012 at 14:09

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